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  • Writer's pictureMiranda Adame

Hand Blended HDR Real estate Photos vs. Standard HDR Real estate photos.

We offer ONLY hand blended HDR photos to our real estate clients. When we first started shooting real estate photography we were just delivering standard HDR photos. However after a trial run of hand-blended photos the difference in quality was just too great to go back to delivering mediocre products to our real estate agents. While standard HDR photos still look acceptable a Hand-blended photo increases the overall quality of the photo. This can especially be noticed in the windows. Looking at the photos below, in the standard HDR photos the windows, While not blown out, still look somewhat desaturated with less detail in the exterior elements. In the hand-blended HDR photo the windows look brighter with greater detail of the outside environment and better saturation throughout. Giving the photo a much better appearance and resembling much more of what you would see in person. The difference can be seen throughout the photo however and not just in the windows. If you will notice the details in the shadows have improved, and the overall image has improved dynamic range and is much more sharp and vibrant.

Use the arrows to see Standard HDR edits vs Hand Blended HDR edits.

Use the arrows to see Standard HDR edits vs Hand Blended HDR edits.


The difference between standard HDR photos and hand-blended HDR photos all comes down to the quality of the edit. Believe it or not the only difference in these photos is how they were edited and not how they were shot. When taking real estate photos we like to use the bracketing method. This means that when we photograph a home we are not just taking one photo in each room but rather three photos at a time for every angle. Each photo is set to a different exposure. One exposure focuses on the highlights, the second exposure is set to accommodate the shadows and the final exposure is set to the mid-tones or the middle exposure. This rings true whether your final photo will be standard or hand-blended HDR. In editing the three photos are merged together to create the final image. This is where the difference between standard and hand-blended comes in.


A standard HDR photo is completed using automatic blending. It is one of the fastest ways to edit real estate photos as it only takes using an automatic merging software within a program like Lightroom or Photomatix. Little editing or adjustments may be made after the photos have been merged by the photographer but ultimately the standard HDR edit is simple, easy and fast because it is an automatic process.


Hand-blended is not an automatic process. Rather than using an automated software within a photo editing program the editor will manually merge the bracketed photos. This takes longer but gives the editor greater control over how the image will turn out. Rather than making small adjustments after the photo has been auto merged the editor can make bigger adjustments throughout the edit. This allows for the higher quality photo.


We started delivering hand-blended photos to our real estate clients in October of 2022 and the higher quality photos have made all the difference for ourselves as well as our clients!



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